UK Labour Party politician and a long-serving member of Parliament from 1970. Described as a moderate, he has opposed the influence of the left-wing of the party. He joined former prime minister Harold Wilson's staff in the mid-1960s and was a junior minister throughout the Labour governments of the 1970s. From 1983 to 1992 he held positions in the Labour shadow cabinet. A strong supporter of Tony Blair's reforms, he served as chair of the Commons culture, media, and sport select committee from 1997 to 2005.
He was elected member of Parliament for Ardwick in 1970 (having unsuccessfully contested seats in 1955 and 1959) and has represented the Manchester Gorton constituency since 1983. He served as a junior minister in the Department of the Environment from 1974–75 and then the Department of Industry until 1979. In opposition he became shadow environmental secretary (1980–83), shadow home secretary (1983–87) and shadow foreign secretary (1987–1992). From 1991 to 1992 he was a member of Labour's National Executive Committee before his return to the parliamentary backbenches after the 1992 general election.
Born in Leeds, he gained a masters degree from Queen's College, Oxford. Before his parliamentary career, he was assistant general secretary of the Fabian Society, a member of the political staff of the Daily Mirror newspaper and political correspondent of the New Statesman. From 1965 he was press liaison officer for the Labour Party. He was awarded a knighthood in 2004.
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